Florida Immigrants Lead Massive Strike To Challenge Ron DeSantis’s Hateful Agenda

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Thousands upon thousands of Floridians have gathered in recent protests to challenge some of the oppressive initiatives enacted lately by Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also running for president now. Estimates of crowd sizes have put just two recent demonstrations at a combined total of nearly 10,000 attendees, and the numerous locations where protests have taken place mean it’s not difficult to imagine total participants did, in fact, meet or surpass that number.

One such protest took place in Homestead, which is a southern Florida location near Miami. “Over 3,000 immigrant workers and families, descending from nations across the Americas, joined our action to march side by side in unity against racist attacks on our communities,” an activism organization called WeCount! recently said on Twitter of May 27 demonstrations in Homestead. A protest in Immokalee, which is in southwestern Florida, saw what some claimed was around 6,000 to 6,500 demonstrators just this Thursday. Other protests also took place Thursday, as organizers and participants joined what was billed as a day without immigrants to express outrage about new rules recently signed by DeSantis that impose harsh restrictions on undocumented immigrants in Florida.

For the Thursday protests, dozens of local businesses in city after city temporarily closed their doors, with protest activity also seen in central Florida and even in other states.

A law DeSantis recently signed contains a wide range of provisions that even include a legal framework that could threaten individuals with substantial penalties just for giving an undocumented immigrant a ride or otherwise providing them with transportation. A definition of so-called human smuggling included in the framework seems remarkably vague, defining the act to mean transporting an undocumented individual whose status was known or reasonably expected to be known without inspection from authorities — a concept that isn’t even comprehensively defined in what Republicans in Florida have approved.

DeSantis’s new law also blocks undocumented immigrants from many options to obtain and use identification documents, and it will also require — once it takes effect in July — that many private employers use a particular federal system (E-Verify) to confirm the eligibility for employment of their hires. Steep penalties are included for not abiding by these rules — consequences that could include effectively shutting down whatever business is involved. The general point seems to be pushing undocumented immigrants out of society across Florida.